Boundaries of Toleration

Religion, Culture, and Public Life, edited by Alfred Stepan and Charles Taylor

Taylor_Boundaries of Toleration

How can people of diverse religious, ethnic, and linguistic allegiances and identities live together without committing violence, inflicting suffering, or oppressing each other? In this volume, contributors explore the limits of toleration and suggest we think beyond them to mutual respect. Salman Rushdie reflects on the once tolerant Sufi-Hindu culture of Kashmir. Ira Katznelson follows with an intellectual history of toleration as a layered institution in the West. Charles Taylor advances a new approach to secularism in our multicultural world, and Akeel Bilgrami responds by offering context and caution to that approach. Nadia Urbinati explores why Cicero’s humanist ideal of Concord was not used in response to religious discord. The volume concludes with a refutation of the claim that toleration was invented in the West. Rajeev Bhargava writes on Asoka’s India, and Karen Barkey explores toleration within the Ottoman and Habsburg Empires. Sudipta Kaviraj examines accommodations and conflicts in India, and Alfred Stepan highlights contributions to toleration and multiple democratic secularisms in such Muslim-majority countries as Indonesia and Senegal.

“The contributors to this volume open up fertile new ground exploring problems, hypotheses, and recommendations in provocative and original ways. Readers will find the fresh thinking exhibited in these pages eye-opening and mind-expanding.”
Hans Oberdiek, Swarthmore College

“Alfred Stepan and Charles Taylor have played a leading role in getting us to rethink the meaning of political secularism, above all to undermine the simplistic notions that secularism means an absolute separation of ‘church and state,’ that this is essential to democracy, and that there is only one institutional template for achieving a secular polity. In this collection of essays, they have assembled a set of contributors who look at the varied ways in which quite different societies, past and present, Western and non-Western, have tried to achieve multireligious coexistence and the role of the state in that process. This is just the kind of historical and theoretical inquiry we need as we work through the challenge of crafting a suitably multiculturalized set of secularisms.”
Tariq Modood, University of Bristol

Alfred Stepan is the Wallace Sayre Professor of Government at Columbia University. He is the coauthor ofProblems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation and Crafting State Nations and the coeditor ofDemocracy and Islam in Indonesia.

Charles Taylor is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at McGill University and the author of Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern IdentityModern Social Imaginaries; and A Secular Age. He is a Permanent Fellow at the IWM.

Recent Publications:

  • Automatisierung der Arbeit: Segen oder Fluch?

    “Die Politik sollte ständig das Ziel vor Augen haben, den „notwendigen“ Arbeitsaufwand zu reduzieren. Dies war das Hauptversprechen der Mechanisierung, nicht ein unbegrenztes Konsumwachstum. (…) Wir haben das Wachstum des Bruttoinlandprodukts zum Selbstzweck gemacht – ein Vergehen an den Göttern, aber auch an dem Planeten, dessen Treuhänder wir sind. Die Politik kann wenig tun, um …
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  • Und wie elektrische Schafe träumen wir: Humanität, Sexualität, Digitalität

    So wie ein lädierter Apfel Fliegen anlockt, zieht menschlicher Leichtsinn Algorithmen an. Digitale Wesen nutzen unsere Selbstüberschätzung aus, bestärken unsere falschen Überzeugungen, instrumentalisieren unsere sexuellen Ängste, reduzieren uns auf isolierte Tiere und veranlassen uns schließlich dazu, die Reste unserer Intelligenz dazu zu verwenden, ihnen ein Alibi für ihre Taten zu geben.” Timothy Snyder Timothy Snyder diskutiert …
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  • Brave New Hungary. Mapping the “System of National Cooperation”

    Brave New Hungaryfocuses on the rise of a “brave new” anti-liberal regime led by Viktor Orbán who made a decisive contribution to the transformation of a poorly managed liberal democracy to a well-organized authoritarian rule bordering on autocracy during the past decade. Emerging capitalism in post-1989 Hungary that once took pride in winning the Eastern …
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  • Visual Thought in Russian Religious Philosophy: Pavel Florensky’s Theory of the Icon

    This book considers a movement within Russian religious philosophy known as “full unity” (vseedinstvo), with a focus on one of its main representatives, Pavel Florensky (1882–1937). Often referred to as “the Russian Leonardo,” Florensky was an important figure of the Russian religious renaissance around the beginning of the twentieth century. This book shows that his …
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  • Urbaner Protest: Revolte in der neoliberalen Stadt

    Kämpfe für eine gerechte Gesellschaft werden heute von einem sehr heterogenen Spektrum von durch neoliberale Austeritätspolitiken betroffenen Akteurinnen und Akteuren getragen. Zu ihnen gehören MigrantInnen, undokumentierte ArbeiterInnen, Arbeitslose und Obdachlose sowie Teile der Mittelschicht, deren Lebens- und Arbeitsbedingungen prekär wurden. Das Konzept der Würde gewinnt im streit- politischen Diskurs zunehmend an Bedeutung. Vor diesem Hintergrund …
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